Wednesday 15 May 2024

Ghosts of the Majestic

Tell us your tale!

A local landmark, the Majestic Theatre has a colourful (and possibly supernatural) history. The Majestic opened in 1918 as a movie theatre, and later was one of the first to play talking pictures. It was also the birthplace of a famous political riot of April 1932, when two thousand people gathered there to march on the Colonial Building. 

Said to be built on haunted ground, visitors to the building have reported poltergeist-like activity, sounds of screaming, and objects moving on their own. Employees have left items in one place, only to find them in another when the building was unlocked the next morning. 

“We used to hear people running around upstairs when no one was up there and the toilets would flush on their own,” one former worker stated on Reddit in 2023. 

We want to hear your stories! Did you work (or party) in the building? What strange things did you see or hear there? Have you had an encounter with one of the Majestic’s resident spirits? We are dying to find out….

Share with someone who knows the building, comment here, or answer anonymously with our Ghosts of the Majestic questionnaire!

Photo of the Majestic by Leona Rockwood Photography, courtesy TerraBruce Productions.

Thursday 14 March 2024

Cressie of Crescent Lake - Robert’s Arm, Green Bay, the Loch Ness of Newfoundland

A model of a lake monster in front of the town sign for Robert's Arm, NL

The monster surfaced, its skin shiny and slick under the summer sun. Water poured from its gaping mouth. It was long, about twenty feet in length, and it swam silently across the top of the lake before diving down into its cool depths once more. A passenger in a passing car shrieked at the driver, and the two of them watched in amazement as the creature vanished from sight.

The amazing part of the story is that it actually happened in July of 2003 in the community of Robert's Arm, "The Loch Ness of Newfoundland." The creature, known as Cressie, is a long-time inhabitant of Crescent Lake

“I was just screaming, We saw Cressie, we saw Cressie!” the eyewitness later told radio reporters. 

The 2003 cryptozoological sighting was only the most recent in a long list of reports, as sightings of Cressie date back to the start of the twentieth century. One of the first residents of the community, a lady remembered today as Grandmother Anthony, was startled from her berry-picking by a giant lake serpent.

The monster seems to have been fairly active in the late 1990s. In the late spring of 1990, a resident of Robert's Arm saw a slim, black shape rise five feet from a patch of churning water before sinking out of sight. On July 9, 1991, Cressie was spotted once more, and then again on September 5 of the same year. There were several sightings in 1995, and while a summer student crew was working on the boardwalk around the lake in 2000, they too spotted the local wonder.

In a 2003 interview CBC Radio, Robert’s Arm town clerk Ada Rowsell noted that reports of monster sightings had been flooding in over the first week of that August.

“I've had several reportings of sightings - people sighting some kind of a huge monster or sea serpent or some kind of a fish," Ada told CBC radio, following the well publicized July 2003 sighting. 

Locals described the creature as looking long and shiny, and having a fish-like head. It was reported that one man even hit the monster with his boat. Cressie, apparently, chose not to retaliate.

One eyewitness was reported as exclaiming “Oh my, that's big, that could eat four or five people if they were swimming. I wouldn't trust it around kids, I tell ya - no, not tiny kids. I wouldn't say tiny kids could beat it off. I wouldn't say anybody 10- or 12-years old could beat it off either.”

Wednesday 7 February 2024

The Case of Matterface: A legendary ghost story from St. Lawrence, Newfoundland and Labrador

Legend holds that around 1835, an English clerk by the name of Matterface, working at the Newman and Company’s plantation at St. Lawrence suffered an untimely demise. 

Embalming was impossible, so the mortal remains of Matterface were preserved inside a barrel of rum until the body, by that point well pickled, could be taken back to England for burial. 

When the barrel was opened, it was found to be drained of its liquor. Locals, unaware of the barrel’s true contents, had been sneaking drinks of the tainted rum. 

Some say the barrel, with Matterface still in it, was buried in Little St Lawrence, down in the cove on Turpin’s Island. 

Folklore claims Matterface’s ghost haunts the island. 

Cousins spending the night in a tent on Turpin’s Island heard something scary circling the tent, round and round.  

Suddenly their campfire, which had been left burning, was snuffed out, like someone blowing out a candle. 

They all took off screaming.

If you visit today, you might find signs of a rock covered grave. Remember the legend though: don’t go at night. And be careful what you take along to quench your thirst. 

Tuesday 6 February 2024

The Brass Button Man - an urban legend from Burnt Islands, Newfoundland and Labrador

By Dale Jarvis

Stalking through the fog near Burnt Islands is a strange figure, with an insatiable, supernatural appetite for a rather ordinary object. 

The Brass Button Man is a possibly murderous spirit who haunts the southwest coast of Newfoundland on foggy nights. 

If you’re out in the fog he will sneak up on you, tap you on the shoulder, and ask for brass buttons. If you have one – you’re safe. If you don’t, he will snatch you up and take you away in his dory, never to be seen again.

The origins of the Brass Button Man legend are murky. The expression “brass button” referring to a soldier or officer was well-known in North America by the 1860s, appearing in ballads in the 1870s.

In 1935, the Western Star newspaper, Corner Brook, printed a children’s story about a dog named Shadow, who was accidentally abducted by a “brass button man” - the uniformed driver of a passenger bus. At the end of the story, Shadow’s poor little paws were sore and bleeding, and the dog had still not found his way home, ensuring local children were unlikely to trust any brass button men they might come across. 

Brass button men are often associated with pirate ghosts guarding their treasure. One northern Newfoundland story tells how Aunt Et repeatedly had a sailor dressed up with brass buttons come to her in her dreams. The man told her there was money buried in a spot called Dane's Bight, and to visit at midnight. When she eventually approached the spot, she was frightened off by the sights and sounds of phantom sword fighting.

In 1990, Newfoundland folk musician Eric West produced his own version of the legend, sending shivers down kids' backs as he sang about a strange fellow lurking on Duck Island.

Another version of the Brass Button Man is found in a ghostly legend from Shalloway Brook, located between the appropriately named Deadman’s Bay and Musgrave Harbour.  A local man was surrounded by a whirlwind, when there wasn’t a draft of wind anywhere else. Then, he saw a figure materialize out of the  whirlwind: a man with one wooden leg, wearing a uniform with brass buttons down the front. The ghost was wearing a three cornered hat and carrying a cutlass in his right hand, with a great wound in his head.

Old legends fade slowly, and the Burnt Islands story is still told and retold today as an urban legend. If you should be out late in the fog, and come across a man asking you for a brass button, you best be prepared to tear one off your jeans, lest you become the most recent victim of the Brass Button Man. 

Monday 5 February 2024

Haddock: The Fish the Devil Touched

Would you eat a fish that had been marked by the Prince of Darkness himself? You may have, without knowing it. 

Haddock is one of the most valuable food fishes of Europe, both fresh and smoked.  The fish has long been popular due to its delicate flake and tender texture. Early cookbooks mention “rizzared” or sun dried haddock, as a popular fare on breakfast tables. After the Industrial Revolution, English fishing vessels travelled far and wide for haddock in order to satisfy a booming demand for fish and chips.

One of the identifying features of the haddock is its large blackish spot above each pectoral fin. Because of this mark, the haddock has the unfortunate reputation as being the fish the Devil touched, a belief brought to Newfoundland with English settlers. This spot is known in Newfoundland as the devil's thumb-print, which the Dictionary of Newfoundland English describes as being “black marks on haddock's back - from a belief that the devil once grabbed the fish, which then got away.” 

One version of the legend says the mark was created when St. Peter and the Devil were fishing.  The Devil caught a haddock, but St. Peter freed the fish.  As it swam away, the Devil tried to grab it. The black mark represents the Devil's fingerprint, and the dark lateral line along the side of the fish represents the scratch marks from his devilish nails as the fish slipped out of Satan’s grasp.

More righteous souls claim that the marks were left by the finger and thumb of St Peter when he opened the fish’s mouth to take out a coin. It is another good story, but the humble haddock is a salt water fish, and could not survive in the fresh water of the Sea of Galilee. 

So was the mark on the haddock burned there by infernal powers? 

Only the haddock, and possibly the Devil, know for certain.

Tuesday 31 October 2023

Hallowe'en Night, 7pm (NLT) tune in to the Haunted Hotline on VOCM with Dale Jarvis

It's Open Line for the Undead!

Tonight, Hallowe'en Night, 7pm-9pm (NLT) VOCM will open up the Haunted Hotline. Dale Jarvis, storyteller, author, folklorist, and the proprietor of the Haunted Hike ghost tour, will be on the other end of the line. We want to hear your ghost stories!

Listen anywhere on

Saturday 9 September 2023

The Haunting of Rohan's Cottage, Harbour Grace, NL

If you had a horn that could summon spirits from the underworld, would you risk blowing it? 

One gentleman in Newfoundland claimed to have done it frequently.

This is the story of Rohan’s Cottage.


Friday 1 September 2023

Paranormal Investigations at Cochrane Street - October 12-13, 2023

Paranormal Investigations at Cochrane Street
Thursday, October 12th and Friday, October 13th

Investigation slots: 7pm-9pm, and 10pm-Midnight

Rebuilt after a disastrous fire, the 107-year-old historic Cochrane Street Methodist Centennial Church is the perfect spot for an exclusive exploration into true hauntings. 

Your evening will begin with a full briefing on the history and supernatural lore of the building, and its otherworldly inhabitants, presented by storyteller and folklorist Dale Jarvis. 

To add to the experience, investigators will be provided with equipment that would have been in use by Spiritualists at the time of the building’s construction in 1916. Dale will walk you through the equipment you will use and the best practices to follow when collecting and analyzing evidence. Then participants will explore under the building’s soaring Byzantine dome… in the dark… attempting to document paranormal activity.  

Participants are asked to bring a flashlight, notebook, and their camera or mobile phones to record what they might experience.  Following the event, you will be given access to a private Facebook group to upload and share what you found with your fellow investigators.  What will you capture?

With a max of 16 people per group, tickets are extremely limited. 

$45 per Investigator
120 minutes


Storyteller and folklorist Dale Jarvis is the creator and proprietor of the award-winning St. John’s Haunted Hike.  Mixing history, humour, and traditional storytelling, Dale has been winning over audiences and throwing in the odd scare since 1997. He is the author of eight books on Newfoundland and Labrador ghost stories, folklore, and quirky local history, and has been featured by a wide variety of local, national, and international media. 

Thursday 31 August 2023

Explore The Fairy Path, with storyteller Dale Jarvis

Along Mount Scio Road, the fairies can still be found. But would you really want to meet them? 

Join folklorist and storyteller Dale Jarvis at twilight for an exploration of the darkly magical and at times eerie realms of the fairy folk. Then, set off by lamplight to find your own way home through the deepening shadows of the wooded paths of the Botanical Gardens. 

Be warned however! These fairies are the unpredictable, quick-to-anger, child-snatching fairies of legend. Put some bread in your pockets, bring a friend, and be careful which voices you follow into the forest... 

Presented by the St. John’s Haunted Hike and MUN Botanical Gardens

Approx. 60 minutes. This is an outdoor event, so dress for the weather, and wear comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots. Fairy lanterns will be provided, but feel free to bring your own flashlight.  Suitable for ages 10+

For tickets: